1983 Code of Canon Law

1983 Code of Canon Law

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The 1983 Code of Canon Law (abbreviated 1983 CIC from its Latin title Codex [or Codicis] Iuris Canonici) is the codification of canonical legislation for the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. It was promulgated on 25 January 1983 by Pope John Paul II.

The Eastern Catholic Churches follow the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, promulgated in 1990.



The current Code of Canon Law is the second codification of Latin ecclesiastical law, replacing the Pio-Benedictine code that had been promulgated in 1917.[1] See also Canon Law-Codification and Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

Blessed Pope John XXIII, when proclaiming a new ecumenical council for the Catholic Church, also announced the intention of revising the 1917 CIC. It was not feasible to revise the Code of Canon Law until after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council, so that the decisions of the Council could guide the revision of ecclesiastical laws. Several of the council documents gave specific instructions regarding changes to the organization of the Catholic Church, in particular the decrees Christus Dominus, Presbyterorum Ordinis, Perfectae Caritatis, and Ad Gentes. In 1966, Pope Paul VI issued norms to apply these instructions through the motu proprio Ecclesiae Sanctae.

The Pontifica Commissio Codici iuris canonici recognoscendo, which had been established in 1963, continued the work of revising the Code of Canon Law through the pontificate of Pope Paul VI, completing the work in the first years of the pontificate of Blessed Pope John Paul II.

On 25 January 1983, with the Apostolic Constitution Sacrae disciplinae leges Blessed John Paul II promulgated the current Code of Canon Law for all members of the Catholic Church who belonged to the Latin Rite. It entered into force the first Sunday of the following Advent,[2] which was 27 November 1983. In promulgating the new Codex Iuris Canonici, the Pope explained the new code in this way:

"The instrument, which the Code is, fully corresponds to the nature of the Church, especially as it is proposed by the teaching of the Second Vatican Council in general, and in a particular way by its ecclesiological teaching. Indeed, in a certain sense, this new Code could be understood as a great effort to translate this same doctrine, that is, the conciliar ecclesiology, into canonical language. If, however, it is impossible to translate perfectly into canonical language the conciliar image of the Church, nevertheless, in this image there should always be found as far as possible its essential point of reference."


The 1983 Code of Canon Law contains 1752 canons, or laws, most subdivided into paragraphs (indicated by "§") and/or numbers (indicated by "°"). Hence a citation of the Code would be written as Can. (or Canon) 934, §2, 1°.

The Code is organized into seven Books, which are further divided into Part, Section, Title, Chapter and Article. Not every book contains all five subdivisions.

This is the outline of the seven books of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.


  • Explains the general application of laws

BOOK II. THE PEOPLE OF GOD (Cann. 204-746)

  • Goes into the rights and obligations of laypeople and clergy, and outlines the hierarchical organization of the Church





  • Crimes and punishment

BOOK VII PROCESSES (Cann. 1400-1752)

  • Trials and Tribunals

Notable Canons

Canon 97 reduces the canonical age of majority from 21 to 18, according to the consensus of civil law.

The implementation of Canon 915 is quite controversial. See the article Canon 915 for more information.

Canon 919 §1 decrees a one-hour fast before the reception of the Eucharist.

External links

  • MCMLXXXIII Codex Iuris Canonici (original and sole official Latin text)
  • Code of Canon Law with the 1998 modification of canons 750 and 1371 (English translation by the Canon Law Society of America)
  • Code of Canon Law (English translation by the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland, assisted by the Canon Law Society of Australia and New Zealand and the Canadian Canon Law Society)


  1. ^ Ap. Const. Providentissima Mater Ecclesia
  2. ^ Ap. Const. Sacræ Disciplinæ Legēs

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